New Jersey Adopts EPR for EV and Hybrid Car Batteries

Add electric and hybrid vehicle batteries to the growing list of products subject to extended producer responsibility (EPR) mandates. On January 8, 2024, New Jersey enacted the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Battery Management Act (the Act), making manufacturers responsible for the collection and management of used electric and hybrid vehicle batteries and imposing battery management restrictions. The first law of its kind nationwide, the Act – and its implementation efforts – will likely serve as a template for future vehicle battery EPR programs in other states (including action in Washington this spring). Affected manufacturers and other entities managing vehicle batteries should begin contemplating compliance now, while there is still time to participate in program rulemaking, influence future battery EPR legislation, and prepare for the Act’s impact on vehicle and battery manufacturing, sales, and end-of-life management. 

Key Takeaways

  • No later than January 8, 2025, “Producers” (defined below) of electric and hybrid vehicle batteries must register with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
  • Starting January 8, 2026, Producers must annually report to DEP the number of covered batteries they sell, offer for sale, or distribute in or into New Jersey.
  • Starting January 1, 2027, any covered batteries sold in New Jersey must include a permanent label providing information specified through program regulations.
  • Starting January 8, 2027, covered battery collection and disposal restrictions take effect, including a ban on unauthorized disposal of covered batteries as solid waste.
  • Producer battery management plans are due to DEP 180 days after it adopts program regulations – likely summer 2027.  

Producers and Covered Batteries

Most – but not all – of the Act’s obligations apply to manufacturers and other “Producers” of “Propulsion Batteries.” 

  • Producers are defined through descending hierarchies of potentially responsible parties. Generally, for Propulsion Batteries embedded in a vehicle sold in or into New Jersey, Producers include certain vehicle manufacturers, brand or trademark licensees, or importers. For Propulsion Batteries sold in or into New Jersey and not embedded in a vehicle, Producers include certain battery manufacturers, remanufacturers, or importers. 
  • Propulsion Batteries are generally defined as electrical or energy storage devices used to “supply power to propel an electric or hybrid road vehicle,” including but not limited to lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries. Propulsion Batteries include batteries removed from or embedded within vehicles. The Act exempts starter batteries and batteries used for products for industrial applications.

Stewardship Plan Requirements

The Act requires Producers to fund, develop, and implement a DEP-approved Propulsion Battery management plan for the collection and management of used Propulsion Batteries. Producers must also inform electric vehicle (EV) owners and vehicle repair facilities about battery management plans. 

Producers must implement their battery management plans after DEP approval. Unlike most EPR legislation, which tends to focus plan requirements on Producers, the Act also requires each entity “authorized” to manage used Propulsion Batteries as part of a plan to actually do so pursuant to the plan. This requirement raises the stakes of battery management plan approval for vehicle repair facilities, battery recyclers, vehicle dealerships, and other entities managing Propulsion Batteries. 

Next Steps

Over the coming months, DEP will begin a “needs assessment” to determine the availability of Propulsion Battery recyclers and other infrastructure necessary to implement the Act. Informed by this needs assessment, likely around early 2027, DEP will adopt the Act’s implementing regulations. Assuming these assessments and rulemakings proceed as planned, sometime in the summer of 2027, Producers must submit battery management plans to DEP for review and approval. 

New Jersey’s action on EPR legislation sits within a wider landscape of fast-evolving rules governing the management and recycling of EV batteries. At the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it is working on a proposal to modify the existing universal waste standards for batteries to impose additional requirements for lithium batteries. At the international level, parties to the Basel Convention are considering changes to the classification and control of used EV batteries moved internationally for recycling, with significant implications for regional and global recovery of critical minerals.

Beveridge & Diamond has extensive experience counseling individual companies and industry coalitions on EPR mandates. We routinely advise clients on EPR legislative and regulatory advocacy, program formation, program implementation, and enforcement issues. The firm is also leading a yearlong webinar series on environmental issues across the lifecycle of batteries. For more information about this EPR legislation or the battery webinar series, please contact the authors.